Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Corn growers upset that they're getting less in trade-war aid than soybean growers

The White House promised to help farmers hurt by the trade war with China, but many corn farmers are upset that they're getting far less than soybean growers.

"Federal economists have calculated that the nation’s losses in corn – its largest crop by harvest and export volume – amount to just a penny per bushel, a pittance farmers call absurd," P.J. Huffstutter and Mark Weinraub report for Reuters. "That’s in stark contrast to the substantial $1.65 per bushel the government will pay for lost sales of soybeans, the crop hardest hit by retaliatory Chinese tariffs in a trade war launched by U.S. President Donald Trump."

Both corn and soybean aid only cover half of this fall's harvest, though the feds may decide to give more money later. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released $6.1 billion recently of an authorized $12 billion aid package for farmers of grains, oilseeds, cotton, dairy and hogs, Reuters reports. Government data shows that the U.S. has paid out $1.9 million for 12,807 corn claims as of October 31.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former farmer, recently told Illinois corn farmers that he didn't understand how his own agency's economists had calculated the amount of relief offered, but said they had to stick to it because that's what the U.S. would present to the World Trade Organization when filing an unfair trade grievance, Reuters reports.

"We have got $1.65 on beans and a penny on corn? That doesn’t make any sense," Perdue told the farmers. "If I were picking numbers, I’d have picked a different one."

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